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[ Random notes made in the wake of the conviction of Dr. Baba Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan of Dera Saccha Sauda for the offense of rape in Panchkula, Haryana, with some attention paid to the testimonials of his close friends. ]

Sometimes, one does not need to write a long post. Some circumstances are themselves so eloquent that they need very little clarification. Evening of 25th August 2017, will go down as a profoundly meaningful day in the evolving history of the Indian Republic. A man of faith, Dr. Baba Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan of the Dera Saccha Sauda sect, was convicted by a judge of a sessions court in Panchkula, Haryana of the offense of rape, on a charge brought against him by two women who had been initiates in his order. The facts are well known by now. The brother of one of the complainants was killed, as was a journalist Ramchandra Chatrapati of the Poora Sach (Whole Truth) newspaper published in Sirsa, Haryana, who first broke the story. The enquiry was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the trial ended today. Sentencing is set for the 28th.

As we know well by now, around a hundred and fifty thousand followers of Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan had gathered outside the courthouse, despite prohibitory orders under section 144 being in place. They began rioting, committing arson and attacking people soon after the verdict of guilty was announced. More than thirty people have died so far. The Dera Saccha Sauda, which has a considerable following spread across several north Indian states, has been courted by many political parties, the latest of which is the BJP. Previously, everyone, from the Congress, to the Akali Dal, to the Indian National Lok Dal, have sought the Dera Chief’s ‘Blessings’.

As the situation unfolded and I sat riveted to the news on TV. I posted the following updates on my Facebook page. I am clubbing them here, not necessarily in the order that they appeared in. So that I can remember this episode. To me, it is as meaningful as the day when Baba Ramdev disappeared in Drag from Ramlila Maidan. These are the signs of our times.

  1. It takes one great man to know another, and a stalker to know a rapist. Saccha Sauda. Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi in praise of Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. The True Bargain. Bharat Mata ki Hai. But, as the dear leader himself said, ‘is maidaan ko ham saaf karaoke jaayenge’
  2. Because, as the RSS Intellectual Prof. Rakesh Sinha reminded us earlier this evening on NDTV, ‘nationalist rapists’, are indeed a cut above. Here, Baba Ram Rahim Singh ji Insaan delivers a rousing musical tribute to the Kunan-Poshpora model of Indian Nationalism.
  3. Ravish Kumar said something really significant while signing off on his show just now. He reminded us that no Indian politician, neither President Kovind, nor PM Modi, nor Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, nor Nitish Kumar, nor Arvind Kejriwal, nor Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh, nor Haryana Chief Minister M.L.Khattar have so far gathered the courage to salute the two brave women who took their complaint against Baba Ram Rahim Insaan to court. I heard Ravish say this and thought ‘Contrast this reticence to the alacrity and eloquence with which leaders across the political spectrum commended the courage of Major Gogoi’s illegal act of using a human shield in Kashmir’
  4. Arnab Goswami and Suhel Seth are now fulminating against the BJP on Republic TV. I’m forgetting that time honoured adage about Rattus rattus and sinking maritime vessels. Can someone remind me.
  5. When asked the obvious question by Sreenivasan Jain on NDTV about the different standards used by ‘law & order’ agencies say, in Kashmir and in Haryana while handling agitated crowds, RSS intellectual Rakesh Sinha just implied in answer that a ‘nationalist who is a rapist’ if he has crores of followers, is certainly more valuable than a ‘separatist’. Different strokes for different folks. Bharat Mata Ki Hai.
  6. Narendra Modi’s tweets on Panchkula shows that he is learning well from his friend Donald Trump’s handling of Charlottesville.
  7. RSS intellectual Rakesh Sinha defended the BJP Haryana Government’s handling of the situation in Panchkula saying “do you think that the government should use violence against such a large crowd”. I’d like someone in the NDTV newsroom to remind Sreenivasan Jain that only a few weeks ago, the police in Chandigarh and Panchkula attacked students who were peacefully protesting on the grounds that section 144 was in place and even initially slapped a string of sedition cases against them. The police in Chandigarh take orders from the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh because Chandigarh is a Union Territory and Panchkula comes under the jurisdiction of the Haryana Police.So, let’s keep reminding Rakesh Sinha that the BJP ruled government does use force when it wants to in the Chandigarh-Panchkula area. It uses it against peaceful students, but it will not use it against a violent mob. Facts are facts.
  8. The BJP MP Sakshi Maharaja just said on live television that the judgement convicting Dera Saccha Sauda Chief Ram Rahim Singh Insaan is a conspiracy against Indian Culture. Followed up by the great RSS intellectual and reptile in chief Rakesh Sinha saying, also on live TV- ‘what is wrong with Haryana minister Anil Vij touching Ram Rahim’s feet and presenting him with a cheque of 51 Lakhs’ – referring to an incident that happened only ten days ago – because it ‘represents a constructive engagement with the faith of millions’. I am reminded of how former Home Minister, President and Congressman Zail Singh said on the floor of parliament that Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was a ‘misunderstood holy man’.
  9. Kailash Vijayvargiya-National General Secretary, BJP. Seen here in BJP publicity material thanking and saluting his rapist role model for endorsing the BJP in the UP elections, after doing the same in Haryana. Vijayvargiya is famous for stating that ‘women get raped when they cross the Lakshman Rekha of modesty.’ I guess ‘Love Charger’ Ram Rahim Singh Jee Insaan was just waiting at the other end of the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ to rape the women he did. Meanwhile, the BJP plugged into all the ‘power’ that the ‘Love Charger’ could give. Such Swacch Bharat.
  10. The Dera Saccha Sauda is a BJP sponsored terrorist organisation. Any doubts? It has been in the past also been sponsored by the Indian National Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal. Indian mainstream politics is an equal opportunity game.
  11. BJP leader and Haryana Minister Anil Vij after handing a cheque of Fifty Lakhs to Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan just ten days ago.
  12. Surgical Strike by Baba Dr. Ram Rahim Singh ji Insaan – ‘Hind Ka NaPak ko Jawaab’. Kunan Poshpora Model of Patriotism in Technicolour. The last line of this remarkable trailer hides a key legal principle, especially to be invoked when nationalists are tried for the offense of rape – ‘deshbhakti ka koi sabot nahin hot.


First published on KAFILA


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Shuddhabrata Sengupta is an artist with Raqs Media Collective

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